Read the full story in Chemical & Engineering News.
Spider silk has long been considered the strongest biological material in the world and has inspired generations of materials scientists to understand and mimic its properties. However, new findings knock spider silk off its pedestal, reporting that engineered cellulose fibers, derived from plant cell walls, are the strongest biobased material (ACS Nano 2018, DOI: 10.1021/acsnano.8b01084). The material is more than 20% stronger than and eight times as stiff as spider silk. It could eventually be used in lightweight biobased composites for cars, bikes, and medical devices, the researchers say.